There really aren’t words to describe the first day of this convention. Between the suffocating heat and then the torrential rain that soaked my dress and ruined my shoes, my appearance by the end of the day on Monday left much to be desired. It didn’t matter though, because as I sit here on Tuesday night, my heart is full.
Coming into this Convention I was prepared to witness an evening of ranting about party lines. I was ready to hear endless jokes and tirades about Trump. Both of which abounded.
Standing, for the first time, on the floor of a major political convention, my senses were overwhelmed. Behind me, Chris Matthews giving his live reports on MSNBC, in front of me, a sea of avid democrats cheering at every witty one-liner, and all around me, a sea of reporters scrambling to deliver their story on time. Headset wearing producers and gear-laden cameramen follow around their made up on-air talent. Before every big name speaker, volunteers in blue t-shirts descend into the crowd to pass out signs with catchy campaign slogans on them. The arena becomes a sea of poster board bouncing and waiving in the air.
As the night grows longer and the crowd swells, the anticipation becomes palpable. When the First Lady takes the stage, she commands it with grace and mastery. I’m not sure I thought about what she might say in this address to her party. If I had to guess, I would have said that she’d talk about how great these last 8 years have been, what an exemplary mother Hilary is, and probably tell us why we should vote for her to be the next President. If I had said those things in anticipation, I would have been right.
What I did not foresee in the coming speech, was the way she made me look at my country.
“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.”
-First Lady Obama
That simple sentence completely awed me. It wasn’t surprising and it is completely true. The way that she set it up made me look at my country differently. All the external mayhem surrounding me faded, and in my mind I could only see two black girls eating dinner with their family and going to bed in a big beautiful house…a house that was built by men who had no power over their very own lives. It was a moment of realization. We have come so far as a nation. In that moment, I was so proud to be there, to be American.
Albeit, this is an America with problems and pains. We are hurting each other. People are dying in shootings. This is barbaric at the very least.
I hope that you take a moment and ponder the tragedies that are occurring around us. Read the stories about the victims. Learn about the lives, families and interests of the people who have been senselessly killed in shootings. You will cry. You must do this so that your heart will break and maybe then, when we all have broken hearts, we will find a way to stop this evil. If you take just a few minutes, you will realize the humanity. You will see in a new light the real lives of the people who no longer get to wake up in the morning and go to work.
But I did not dwell on these things.
These things do not define us. We will overcome this. I don’t know who is going to be elected, but I do know Americans. I know that we are full of love and ambition and hard work. We stand here today in a country that we are proud of. To be born an American is a gift from God himself. How lucky are you to be placed in the most free and empowering culture in the history of the world? Do you ever stop to consider that?
My bias is not and has never been for Hilary or Bernie, Trump or Cruz. I walk around the City of Brotherly Love this week and remember the history lessons of men fighting to do something insane, start a country. They had crazy ideas and not all of them were good.
The streets of this city are filled with protestors. Some of them are protesting Bernie, or Hillary, and some of them are just yelling to be heard. Some of them march about in the sweltering Philadelphia heat screaming for change. Others stand in the pouring rain, outside the convention center, chanting in unison for change. These are Americans. They will tell you how they feel and they will do something about the things that are important to them.
I don’t know who I’m going to vote for in the fall. My bias is for America, the country who learns from her mistakes and works her heart out to be better in the future. My allegiance is to a country whose black President lives in a house that was built by black slaves. The Obamas are leading America, the ruler of the FREE WORLD, from a house that was built by slaves. I have confidence in you sweet Land of Liberty, and the beautiful people who call you home.